President Obama's inauguration speech was more of the saccharin rhetoric we have learned to expect.
Obama champions immigrant laborers, asking us to recognize the sacrifices they made for us. Is this a recognition that some Americans contribute more than others?
Statements about the role of government indicate that he sees Obama government as being at the center of public life.
During the speech, President Bush sat passively, with the expression of a father watching his child embark on a path that will lead to pain and strife. (I predict that Obama will do more to enhance Bush's historical posterity than any presidential library or foundation ever could.)
As a piece of writing, the speech fails on nearly every level. Or, perhaps, a speech can never achieve anything unless it passes through a personage of genuine substance. Just as a young writer or singer needs personal experience to invest ethos and pathos in their work, spirit and soul that can be felt by readers and listeners, so too must Obama gain the benefit of living what he preaches in order to speak with authority.
True believers will rally to this speech, but I do not believe that the average American will find any inspiration because it offers nothing to grab onto.